Piazza family struggles with graduation weekend

Local News

College graduation is supposed to be a time for family and celebration. But the Piazza family’s celebration has been overshadowed by tragedy. Since their youngest boy, Tim, died from injuries after falling at a hazing event at the Beta Theta Pi house, Jim and Evelyn Piazza’s lives have been turned upside down.

They have visited the university many times over the last 2 years. But Evelyn says walking by the fraternity house isn’t something she can do. The thought of him dying inside, alone, is just too painful.

The fraternity house now sits empty. Its ownership is in question. There’s a legal battle over what rights the university versus the fraternity has since it’s no longer recognized as a fraternity here.

The Piazza’s think maybe it should be the new home of the Timothy J Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform. Or a place to host Thon families. Penn State says its too early to make a comment on what could happen with it.

Michael Piazza is Tim’s older brother, about to graduate from Penn State in accounting and finance. Michael describes close bonds with his college friends, but his closest bond has been broken. Michael and Tim would have graduated together this week. Jim and Evelyn struggled with how to celebrate but know that Tim would want them to make it a great event for Michael.

On a national level, the Piazza’s believe the key is pushing for legislation that criminalizes hazing.

The Piazza’s are reaching out to families of hazing victims. Jim believes Tim’s death and their activism sparked a national conversation. And brought families together.

They created the Timothy J Piazza Memorial Foundation. The foundation funds scholarships, and prosthetics for children and military veterans. That’s what Tim wanted to do with his career.

During a week of family and celebration, the Piazza’s hope students and their parents take time to think of Tim.

Click here to connect to the Piazzas and support their foundation. There’s an upcoming golf event in August.

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